Research Methods for Forensic Psychologists
This survey course introduces students to several critical areas of psychology. Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on the scientific method, its application to psychology, and the insights gained from scientific research. The interactions among biological processes, cognitive and emotional responses, sociocultural forces, and behavior are examined. Included are such diverse topics as: health, stress, and coping; consciousness, sleep and dreams; effects of psychoactive drugs on behavior and health; psychological disorders; social psychology; types of learning and behavior management, information processing approaches including memory, encoding and retrieval; and the relationship of the nervous system to thought, feelings, and behaviors.
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The course provides the student with a general introduction to the practice of forensic psychology. The field addresses ways in which experts in psychological science contribute to the legal system. Potential topics include eyewitness memory, the insanity defense, child custody, lie detection, criminal profiling, violent crime, and more.
This course examines the major experimental designs and methods of scientific psychology. The nature of psychology as a science, types of and evaluation of research design and conclusions, conducting of research, preparation of research papers and ethics in research in psychology are covered. This course begins with definitions of abnormal behavior. Most of the course focuses upon various classifications of abnormality based on the most recent DSM, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, stress and physical health, personality disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, sexual and gender-identity disorders, and schizophrenia.
Etiology, symptomatology, and treatment are explored throughout the semester. This course, through an integration of psychology, criminology, and law, examines criminal behavior from both a psychological and legalistic perspective.
In addition, he has authored or coauthored several articles and book chapters on research methodology in forensic psychology. He serves on the editorial board of several prominent journals. A researcher with twenty-five years of nearly continuous research support from the National Science Foundation, he has written over publications on the psychology of legal decision making, focused especially on juries and eyewitness evidence.
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